Management Article

Daniel Hess’s picture

By: Daniel Hess

We all expect hospitals to be open and operating when we need them, but extreme weather events like hurricanes are a strain on resources and pose significant challenges for hospitals.

Closing a hospital is an extreme action, but several hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina did just that before the arrival of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

With more than 300 hospitals and a higher share of older adults than any other state, Florida had a critical issue facing emergency planners during those storms.

As a professor of urban planning, I have studied emergency planning and evacuation and also co-authored an extensive report on how hospitals coped with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav. Hospitals plan for catastrophic events, but there are always lessons to be learned.

Hospitals try to stay open and care for patients already hospitalized as well as those who suffer injury or illness from a storm. Here’s how they do it.

DNV GL’s picture

By: DNV GL

Workplace safety is a complex issue, addressing everything from rules for operating heavy machinery to guidelines for respecting your fellow employees. For many of these issues we, as a business community, have developed and applied a variety of best practices and global standards—such as ISO 45001—to help establish and preserve a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates that two million employees are victims of workplace violence annually, resulting in a loss of 1.2 million workdays and an estimated $55 million in lost wages.  The long-term costs to business continuity and the human capital that supports it are almost staggering. 

As a society, we work toward the prevention of accidents that result in personal injuries; we have policies about professional behavior and decorum, and plans to deal with emergencies by natural causes such as fires, floods, and electrical outages. What we must now develop are the operational plans and policies to deal with targeted violence such as active shooter events. 

Paul Foster’s picture

By: Paul Foster

When Deloitte wanted to get people excited about employee training, the company decided to adopt a gamification strategy for its online training portal. Using elements like achievement badges, missions, and leaderboards, they achieved a 37-percent increase in participation.

And when Ford Canada gamified its sales and service training, platform usage jumped a massive 417 percent, with big gains in engagement among younger employees.

Saying gamification makes work a game is an oversimplification. In reality, it’s all about leveraging proven psychological principles around our motivation to compete, encouraging habits and behavior that improve business performance.

These principles can also be used in manufacturing to increase engagement in audits, which are critical to quality but often suffer from low participation. Key gamification tools and techniques to consider include mobile apps, competitions, and recognition programs.

Sébastien Breteau’s picture

By: Sébastien Breteau

Whether it be a move forced by the U.S.-China tariff turmoil, or a sourcing strategy long in the works, the exodus from China is a reality for a host of businesses, from small to medium-sized enterprises to multinationals.

While the departure is widespread, it isn’t universal—some major players, Nike and Intel among them, openly announce they have no intention to pull out of China, in a large part due to its importance as a consumer market. However, for businesses in pursuit of low-cost outsourcing, China is becoming an increasingly less feasible choice. With Vietnam—arguably the biggest beneficiary from the trade war fallout—almost at capacity, global supply chains in price-sensitive consumer goods segments are exploring new sourcing horizons.

That said, shifting one’s supply chain into a new country is never a trouble-free process. In the classic project management triangle of quality vs. speed vs. cost, only two facets out of three are available at any given time. The latest data collected by quality and compliance solution provider QIMA indicate that as buyers move into new sourcing regions, the quality dimension is the most likely to suffer.

Sharona Hoffman’s picture

By: Sharona Hoffman

A career as a physician has traditionally been considered to be among the best vocations that talented students can pursue. That may no longer be the case. All too many doctors report that they are unhappy, frustrated, and even prepared to leave the profession.

That should worry all of us. The physician burnout crisis is likely to affect our quality of care and our access to healthcare providers.

According to a recent study, 44 percent of U.S. doctors suffered at least one symptom of burnout, and some studies have identified even higher burnout rates. By contrast, researchers have found only a 28-percent burnout rate in the general working population.

Jon Speer’s picture

By: Jon Speer

Medical device manufacturers must implement and maintain a quality management system to ensure they are producing safe and effective medical devices. Created and maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), standard 13485 outlines the guidelines for medical device quality management systems. ISO 13485:2016 has been adopted by regulatory agencies around the world as a universally harmonized standard.

However, the International Organization for Standardization itself is not a governing regulatory agency; unlike government agencies, ISO does not publish reports to the public of violations during audit findings. This fact makes it nearly impossible for device makers in this market to research and learn from others’ mistakes.

With more than 20 years of experience working in the medical device industry, I’ve seen my fair share of mistakes made during ISO 13485 implementation, with six mistakes in particular that commonly trip up device makers. You can learn from these missteps of others and avoid making them yourself:

Søren Block Olsen’s picture

By: Søren Block Olsen

Manufacturers face constant challenges of rising expectations as customers and regulators demand better quality and greater traceability throughout the supply chain. Exacerbating matters are unpredictable tariffs, which necessitate faster responses to changing trade barriers and regulatory requirements. These factors must all be accomplished at lower costs while coping with already thin margins.

The solutions to these challenges already exist within current systems. Unlocking the value of data already in systems generates actionable insights from quality control and quality assurance for operations and plant-floor management.

Improving the entire manufacturing process allows manufacturers to optimally monitor costs, remaining within a range of profitability. If data (i.e., business intelligence) show information outside the acceptable range, it can be quickly adjusted.

Simon Côté’s picture

By: Simon Côté

The aerospace industry is known for manufacturing parts with critical dimensions and tight tolerances, all of which must undergo demanding inspections. Given the scale of the controls to be carried out on these parts, it is hardly surprising that quality people in the industry prefer to turn to coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). However, directing all inspections to the CMM may cause other problems: CMMs are hyper-loaded and can generate bottlenecks during inspections, slow down manufacturing processes, and cause production and delivery delays.

Is it possible to unload CMMs so that they are fully available for the final quality controls? How can we improve manufacturing processes to produce more parts faster, and above all, of better quality? In the event of a quality issue occurring during production, is it possible to identify the root cause more quickly to minimize the delays that could impact schedules and production deliveries?

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

From a lone statistician toiling over narrowly defined problems for the marketing department, to a C-level executive overseeing a mission-critical area impacting every function of the company, the meaning of “data and analytics professional” has changed a lot in recent years. A. Charles Thomas’s career has reflected those developments.

Thomas, who is General Motors’ first-ever chief data and analytics officer, shared where corporate data analytics has been, where it’s going, and the evolution of chief data officer roles, in a keynote at the recent Wharton Customer Analytics conference “Successful Applications of Analytics.” He spoke from his experience not only at GM, but also other major companies, including Hewlett Packard, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), and Wells Fargo.

During the late 1990s, he said, data analysts were typically individual contributors working with transactional data involving marketing, credit, and retail. “The [data analyst’s] reputation was ‘a smart guy,’” said Thomas. “You want an answer, you come to Charles.”

Eric Weisbrod’s picture

By: Eric Weisbrod

In manufacturing, standardization in production and process control leads to increased profitability and cuts down on many siloed problems that can plague even the most quality-focused organization. But when you have multiple, disparate plants around the country or the globe, standardization can seem unattainable, as each site operates more like an island with its own way of doing things.

I previously worked with one company that had numerous plants throughout the United States and Europe. Over time, each site had developed unique practices. One specific issue that came up was whether to use the metric system for quality data collection. Unfortunately, the company did not standardize. So, when it was time to run cross-plant reports, the results were in different units, presenting a challenge to comparative analysis.

In contrast, I worked with a separate organization that was very adamant about using a standardized approach and implementing the same quality management system at every site. Standardization made it easy to deploy the system to approximately 80 plants in merely 18 months. In addition to streamlining deployment, standardization enabled the company to perform enterprisewide reporting for better decision-making.

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